Monday, January 5, 2015

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy VIII (SquareSoft, 1999; Playstation): Issue #023: So Shumi...

It's been awhile since I've done this, hasn't it?

There've been a few things keeping me busy since last time. I guess it's only been a couple weeks, but it feels a lot longer than that. Maybe it's because of the holidays, or that there hasn't been much sun lately.

At any rate, I'm back, at least for now. This time around, we're paying a visit to a place called the Shumi Village. The people there are... kind of hard to describe, really. They're tall, skinny folks with weird faces and big hands. They can also literally (ding!) change into other creatures as they get older. Most of the time, they turn into something called Moombas, which were those funny little creatures that helped us in the D-District prison. There are times when they don't change at all, which I guess means they're elders or something.

But we're here for a couple items that could be at least a little bit useful, I guess. There's one that will make one of the Guardian Forces learn the ability to junction four spells to Status Defense. The Stat Guard, I think it's called. There's quite a bit of work to get it, but at least we get another item along the way called the Phoenix Pinion. My understanding is that it'll bring back multiple K-Oed party members, and also make a non-standard Guardian Force show up from time to time, called Phoenix, not surprisingly.

The story surrounding all of this is that the Shumi are building a statue to Laguna because I guess he made a decent impression on them when he somehow just showed up in their village after his little adventure in Eshtar. And this was after being all busted up, too. Could have sworn he'd been in Winhill the whole time between then and when Kiros showed up a year later. The timeline in this game is a bit weird, though, so I could be wrong about that.

The first thing we gotta do is find the head sculptor on the project the various kinds of stone he says he wants to work with. The first one he says he wants, he already has in the studio with him. There's four more he wants to use, too. Three of them are where you'd think they'd be, based on their names, the fourth's not too hard to find. Granted, they do try to throw you with it a bit, but all you've gotta do to find it is go into the house next to the sculptor's studio and look in the guy's sink full of dishes instead of the lake. Not sure if you've gotta look in the lake out front first, but it's one of those quests where, yeah, we've gotta deliver each one of these things individually and talk to the same group of people about fifty-three times to pull it off. Once you do, though, the Elder shows you his empty hands as a reward. The party members who aren't Squall step out, but the Elder calls Squall aside and gives him the Phoenix Pinion to make up for the cheap-ass reward he gave the party as a whole. Outside, Squall explains it to the others while the Elder makes his assistant go help the sculptor with the statue.

The assistant gets all pissy about it because I guess he wants to go be like Laguna or something. I guess there are worse role models.

In order to continue this side quest, we have to get back to the map screen from the town, which is something of a chore, especially since this part really does involve a lot of running around. The assistant says he doesn't want to work on the statue, which is something the party has to tell the village elder. The elder has us send in a Moomba to tell the assistant he's cool and stuff. The elder doesn't want to do it himself because it'll all be orders somehow if he gets involved.

With that taken care of, the sculptor says he needs one more person to help him. The good news is that the guy who lives in the house next to the studio is an artisan with friends who live in the outside world. They'll come in handy in a bit, but first we've gotta go tell the elder about how the artisan will join the team but is a bit hesitant.

This is one of those frustrating points in the game that players are not going to miss something that I almost always seem to, and just somehow know where to go to finish this thing. See, one of the artisan's friends is a mechanic in Fisherman's Horizon. I guess we could have talked to him when we were there before, but it's something I didn't do, in part because I tend to be a lazy bastard. Of course, at the time, I'd forgotten that the house I was supposed to go to was even there to begin with. So, I guess it's a good thing I still have the strategy guide that came with the game one of the times I bought it, otherwise I would never have known.

The mechanic gives up this robotic Moomba doll that the artisan made for him, using it as a means of sending in an inspirational message for the artisan. That's enough to convince him to go help with the statue, and even decide that he wants to turn into a human and go visit the outside world when he changes. When the party tells the village elder about this, he says he's happy it worked out and everybody's working hard on the statue, so he rewards us with the item he was going to give the artisan if we hadn't come along: the Status Guard.

And that's where I think I'll wrap this issue up. I'm not really sure where I'll go next. I might actually try to go on with the main story now, but there's also a couple really good G.Fs along the way that I might try to pick up, too. We'll see, though. And hopefully, it won't take two weeks, this time.

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